Although the Dutchman is competing for a title for the first time, Horner sees no disadvantage in this: “Max is not distracted by anything, psychological games leave him cold.”
As a race director, Horner has a different way of working than the Austrian. “I’m sitting in the front line at the command post next to the engineers, Toto is sitting in the garage next to a press man,” the Englishman teased. “So we have different roles. The competition between us is fierce, and the more pools there are, the funnier it gets. ”
Alone: Not only Horner sees more pressure at Mercedes. “Fighting hard within the team is different from fighting hard against others,” says Wolff’s predecessor Ross Brawn.
The Briton was Mercedes team principal until the end of 2013 and prepared the field. Now he’s head of Formula 1 sports. “If you fight hard internally, what can happen in the worst case? If one driver doesn’t win, the other would, ”said Brawn. “There were years when it was either Nico or Lewis because there was no one to pick up the broken pieces if they didn’t deliver. Mercedes had this pad when they screwed it up. ”
It’s different now. The former Ferrari mastermind: “Now there is no more upholstery. Max fights massively for the championship. He was fantastic on Sunday and delivered masterclass in terms of damage control. “
But Mercedes also drove at world championship level. When it came down to it, even without Toto Wolff, they stayed calm at the command post and directed Hamilton into the pits to switch to intermediates. Horner knows that too: “The next twelve weeks will decide whether we will become world champions. Mercedes can be beaten, but only if we deliver our best performance. “
Insiders like ex-Formula 1 star Gerhard Berger would bet their cards on Verstappen. Today’s DTM boss to ABMS: “I think Max will do it. He’s finally got a car on par with the Red Bull, he’s doing a fantastic job. His second place finish in Sochi was more than damage control, assuming he had to start from the back. You could say: Mercedes had a penalty, but Max saved it. “